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How to Commute During Metro's Reduced Service

Marie Cox
Marie Cox November 1, 2021 Marie Cox is a former Business Development Manager at Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP).

ATP Takeaway: Metro has reduced service while WMATA works to bring 7000-series train cars safely back into operation. Luckily, the DC region has some great options and discounts to keep you moving.

At Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP) we understand how frustrating it can be to have your commute derailed due to service reductions, station closures, or total shutdowns. That’s why we’re here to provide you information on all available options so that you’re never left without a back-up commute.




Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC) launched a joint investigation into a derailment on the Blue Line that occurred October 12. As part of the investigation, all 7000 series trains have been removed from service, leaving approximately 40% of Metrorail’s fleet in operation.

What to Expect

As a result of the investigation, Metrorail is operating on a reduced service schedule through at least December 31,2021. During this time, trains are expected to operate as follows:

  • Red Line trains will operate every 12 minutes
  • Green and Yellow Line trains will operate every 20 minutes
  • Orange, Blue, and Silver Line trains will operate every 24 minutes

This period of reduced service will allow for continued testing of 7000 series trains and help preapre for the opening of Phase II of the Silver Line expected in 2022.

  • During this time you may see older train models return to service. WMATA is also working to bring back additional 6000 series trains in December, which are currently under repair. Their ability to do this has been impacted by global supply chain issues as they await the arrive of necessary parts. 

Review Your Options

If you’re impacted by Metrorail’s reduced service, there are a variety of options to help you reach your destination on time, whether you’re commuting to work, running errands, or visiting the DC area. Some are even offering limited time discounts to help you through this time.

Try Capital Bikeshare 

If you’ve thought about biking but haven’t given it a try or don’t own a personal bicycle, now’s your chance! Capital Bikeshare is a great way to move around the region quickly and avoid Metro disruptions.

While you may have missed Capital Bikeshare's free 30-day membership offer, there are still plenty of affordable ways to try Capital Bikeshare today.

A Capital Bikeshare 30-Day Membership includes all rides 45-minutes or less on the system’s classic red bikes and 33% off rates for Capital Bikeshare’s e-bikes. To claim your free 30-Day Membership before time runs out:

  • Take a single trip: $1 to unlock a bike and $0.05 per minute on a classic red bike
  • Try it for a day: $8 for unlimited 45-minute rides on the classic red bikes
  • Purchase a 30-day membership: $20 per month includes unlimited 45-minute rides on classic bikes
  • Ride all year long*: $95 for a year (less than $0.30 per day) includes unlimited 45-minute rides on classic bikes plus discounted e-bike trips.

Business trying to help employees commute despite reduced service levels may want to incorporate Capital Bikeshare's corporate program at their worksite. This benefit provides a steep discount on annual memberships to employers who opt to subsidize a portion or all of an employee's annual membership. 

Once you’ve tried Capital Bikeshare free for 30 days, keep riding for a full year for less than $0.30 per day, or check if your employer offers a subsidized annual Capital Bikeshare membership.

Test Out an E-Scooter for Less

In Arlington, you can travel using a shared mobility device, such as an electric scooter or e-bike, from Bird, Spin, Lime, or HelBiz. Right now, a couple of these operators are helping commuters by offering special discounts for their services.

Helbiz is waiving the unlock fee on their scooters, a savings of $1.00 on every ride! Individuals can take advantage of this discount through November 30, 2021. To rent a Helbiz e-scooter, download the Helbiz app on your iPhone or Android device, then locate and rent an e-scooter near your location. While you won’t be charged the unlock fee, the cost to ride is $0.35 per minute.

Spin is also offering an exclusive discount through November 19. If you're an Arlington resident or employee who hasn't used Spin before, use the promo code RideSPINAT for a $5.00 credit on your rid. Plus, Spin has decreased their rates to help keep you moving. Normally, a Spin ride will cost a $1 unlock fee and $0.35 per minute. However, to perk up your morning commute during this period of reduced Metrorail service, all rides taken in the DC area between 5:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. will cost only $0.25 per minute plus the unlock fee. Find and rent an e-scooter near you on the Spin app to take advantage of this offer.

Consider Bus Options

The bus can be a convenient and affordable option to avoid waiting at Metrorail transfer points, travel faster during service disruptions, and move around our region in general. Metrobus, ART, and other local and regional bus services are providing full service. Additionally, in September Alexandria introduced free fares for the DASH bus and WMATA announced transfers between Metrorail and Metrobus will now be free.

In Arlington, there are a number of buses that can replace Metrorail trips during this period of reduced service. A few of these include:

  • ART 42: Use in place of the Orange, Silver, and/or Blue Lines to reach Ballston, Virginia Square, Clarendon, or Pentagon Metro Stations.
  • ART 43: Use in place of the Blue Line between Rosslyn and Crystal City or in place of the Orange or Silver Lines between Courthouse and Rosslyn.
  • Metrobus 38B: Use in place of the Orange and Silver Lines between Ballston and Downtown DC, it stops along the way near Virginia Square, Clarendon, Courthouse, and Rosslyn Metro Stations.
  • Metroway: Use in place of the Blue and Yellow Lines to travel between Braddock Road, Crystal City, and Pentagon City.

For further information about bus alternatives, take a look at the full list of ART bus routes and Metrobus routes in Virginia.

We’re Here to Help

Whether you want to share options with residents or employees during this time or you’re looking for commuting options for yourself we’ve got you covered. ATP can create custom materials for you to share with residents, host a virtual event for your employees, or help you find a new commute.

Contact us today to receive customized support and learn more about the area’s transportation options so that no one is left behind.


Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/ for Arlington Transportation Partners

Tags: Bike, Bus, Capital Bikeshare, Metro, Arlington County, Commute, Dockless


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